PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – NOVEMBER 01: Running back Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on as Rodney McLeod #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with teammates in the background after McLeod ran back a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on November 01, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Dallas Cowboys playing a hurt Ezekiel Elliott against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night has left many confused.
The Dallas Cowboys traveled down to New Orleans hoping to bring an end to their losing streak. There were questions as to whether running back Ezekiel Elliott would play against the Saints, or rest up a knee injury. The latter seemed like a logical option, as Tony Pollard has been playing at a high-level this season.
Instead, the Cowboys played Elliott in the Saints game and gave him the majority of the carries. That left many on Twitter confused, considering they have a healthy Pollard at their disposal.
Ezekiel Elliott is hurt. Everyone knows it but the Cowboys
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) December 3, 2021
The #Cowboys would be much better off if Ezekiel Elliot’s name had Tony Pollards game. Tony Pollard needs to be the guy!!
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) December 3, 2021
Honestly idk how long Zeke needs to rest for to get right, I want him to look like Zeke from the first few weeks in the playoffs.
That Zeke was playing the best ball I’d seen since 2016 https://t.co/vfqQg6kiiv
— Dalton “Fall Damage” Miller (@DaltonBMiller) December 3, 2021
Zeke should not be playing right now. Pollard can handle increased touches. This was a poor coaching decision by the Cowboys.
— Connor. (@ConbonNFL) December 3, 2021
Zeke should not be playing football right now.
Careless by the Cowboys organization for having him play through his knee injury.
— Nate Hamilton (@DomiNateFF) December 3, 2021
Ezekiel Elliott plays against Saints despite injury
Even though Elliott had been diagnosed with a bone bruise, team owner Jerry Jones put the kibosh on the former fourth-overall pick sitting to heal up this week, saying that the team expects he would handle a “serious load” against the Saints, via Jori Epsetin of USA Today.
Against New Orleans, Elliott received 13 carries from quarterback Dak Prescott and gained 45 yards.
Pollard has shown what he can do when given a real shot as a starter. Back on Thanksgiving, the 24-year-old returned a kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown against the Raiders. On Thursday night against the Saints, Pollard took a handoff for 58-yard score to extend Dallas’ lead to 20-10. Pollard finished the night rushing for 71 yards on just seven carries.
Dallas obviously has playoff aspirations this season. The NFC East is still up for grabs despite the Cowboys’ lead, as four of their final five games of the campaign are against rivals (Washington Football Team twice, New York Giants once, Philadelphia Eagles once). It will be interesting to see what the Cowboys do in regards to their running game during this stretch.
If Thursday night showed anything, it will be confusing.